Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

ViaSat targets energy players, utilities with new satellite service

Iain Morris
June 3, 2014
Satellite player ViaSat has introduced a new M2M networking service that could help energy companies operating pipelines or other infrastructure in remote settings – besides customers in a range of other sectors.

The company says it wants to provide L-band satellite customers with a fresh alternative to “today’s antiquated technologies”, and that its own L-band managed service will lower the cost of M2M networking and provide higher speeds and greater security for M2M deployments.

ViaSat (Carlsbad, CA, USA) says it has drawn on its extensive experience of serving US government customers with satellite-based global services to develop the new M2M service.

The service is aimed at customers in the energy, utilities, logistics and enterprise sectors – says ViaSat – but could be especially valued by energy players operating in remote environments where connectivity services based on terrestrial networking technology are typically unavailable.

News of the service launch comes shortly after ViaSat struck major agreements with satellite operator Thuraya (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) and 4G player LightSquared (Reston, VA, USA) for the development of an M2M platform combined with specific products and commercial packages.

“The agreements we’ve just completed with LightSquared and Thuraya signal the launch of our worldwide MSS [mobile satellite services],|” said Phil Berry, the vice president of MSS at ViaSat.

“In the same way that we transformed satellite broadband, we’re bringing innovation to this market with a focus on constantly improving system economics while enabling an order of magnitude performance improvement over comparable M2M legacy systems,” he added. “We are developing a range of fixed and mobile devices to deliver the service for a variety of applications.”

Besides helping utilities to provide data about energy usage to their customers, M2M technology has a range of applications in the energy sector.

For companies operating oil pipelines, for instance, the technology can be used to monitor the performance of equipment and provide notifications of faults and other potential problems.

Satellite-based systems are especially relevant in this market because cellular networks are often unavailable in areas through which pipelines travel.
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